In a recent report CNN highlighted Nature Seychelles’ work on reef restoration as possibly the last chance for the world’s seriously depleted coral reef systems.
In the report, entitled Reef Rescuers Race Against Time, it described the project to restore coral to damaged reefs around Praslin as an ‘environmental operation of global significance.’
Addressing coral damage
Chief scientist for Nature Seychelles’ Reef Rescue team, Sarah Frias-Torres, said she hoped that the work they are currently doing in the Seychelles to restore reefs damaged by the 1998 El Niño could offer a solution to worldwide coral damage.
The Seychelles project, undertaken in partnership with Constance Lémuria, has involved growing healthy coral in ‘nurseries’ around Cousin Island and then transplanting them to damaged reefs like the one off the shore of Lémuria.
The idea, according to Frias-Torres, is to ‘jump start the natural process of recovery’ and findings so far have shown that the planting of new coral has meant a 7-fold increase in marine life in the area compared with a damaged reef left to regrow naturally.
Lémuria supports reef restoration
Staff at Lémuria have played an important role in monitoring and documenting the health of the reef.
Hilton Hastings, resident manager of Lémuria, told CNN that sharing what they have learnt about reef restoration with guests at Lémuria, who are able to snorkel the reef and see the conservation in action, has been key in transferring and broadening knowledge about the importance of reef restoration.
But Frias-Torres warns that the success the team has had in Seychelles needs to be repeated on a global scale if we are to save the world’s coral systems, 50% of which are currently collapsed.
‘If we don’t take action now,’ she warns, ‘there is no future for the coral reefs, they will be gone. The good news is we now know what to do, so there is hope. The bad news is whether or not political will and social will will come just in time to do what needs to be done.’
- Find out more about Constance Lémuria’s coral reef restoration project
- Explore the beauty of Praslin island with our map of the Seychelles: Praslin
- Find out what Constance is doing to protect coral reefs in Maldives.